Sunday, 13 July 2008

Trust me, I'm a waiter...

I'm currently munching (see what I did there?) my way through Jay Rayner's terrific read, "The Man Who Ate The World, In Search of the Perfect Dinner". I thoroughly recommend it for anyone who has even but a passing interest in food, fine restaurants or good writing. Rayner literally travels the world eating in the finest restaurants such as Restaurant Alain Ducasse in Paris and Per Se in New York.

It's funny, you only have to read the section on Vegas to see that. And whilst you will shout out loud at the prices people will pay for fine food and wine you will no doubt wonder what it would be like to pop some poached oysters with caviar into your nosebag and chow down with gay abandonment. I'm sure it's just bloody divine. The book exposes a world of cuisine so far above what I do on a daily basis that it may very well be on the moon. There isn't a section on Belfast funnily enough.

It wets the appetite. It makes me want more of what I had when I went to Claridges. I make a solemn vow right here and now to do just that, get more. Once a year from here on in I will make a pilgrimage to these holy sites of gastronomy. I will eat beans for the rest of the year if I have to, but by fuckity I shall go.

If I had one complaint about the book it would be that there aren't enough waiters in it. You can never have enough waiters in my opinion. But there was one little passage that made me snort with laughter. Rayner was dining in Guy Savoy's paris restaurant when the waiter was trying to convince him to have the pea salad.
"Our waiter, Hubert, had made such a meal of selling the pea thing to us I wanted to choose something else to eat just to spite him. I mean how good could a pea get? It didn't even have a pulse.
'Every pea in this pea salad is sliced in half,' Hubert said in a conspiratorial whisper. 'Every pea.'
Pause.
'In half.'
'And do you want to know why they slice every pea in half?'
He leaned closer into Maureen as if limbering up to put his hand down the front of her dress. Now he dropped his voice to an even more breathy whisper. 'Double the pleasure'......."
Fantastic stuff.

Jay Raynor writes about food for the Guardian & Observer and online at Word of Mouth.

It should be pointed out though that my own attempt at a book is subtitled, "In search of the perfect guest."
This is coincidence and I can prove it.

12 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Silverstar said...

Makes me hungry to read it, and hungry for the only five-star dinner I've ever had, on the top of Whistler mountain in British Columbia. The food was so pretty, I didn't know whether to eat it or just take a picture of it. However, not eating it would have been a mortal sin, as it was incredible. Ah, for the good old days when I could afford such adventures. Beans are, I'm afraid what I subsist on these days.

Manuel said...

silverstar: we should swap bean recipes.....!

Medbh said...

By fuckity, you should do it, Manuel. What's better than the search for fine food?
It may seem odd but it's true about Vegas. Everyone has this idea that it's all crap buffets, when really they fly in some of the finest food I've ever eaten.

Anonymous Boxer said...

When are YOU going to write a book? I'd buy it!

problemchildbride said...

When you write your book, Manuel, I'm buying 10. Probably more, actually. More people need the chance to peep behind the waiter's curtain and see how waiters see us.

MJ said...

Sign me up for a copy of your book before the Richard and Judy viewers get their hands on all your copies.

But be forewarned that publishers may choose a title FOR you rather than take your own good advice.

Jeny said...

can i just take a moment to say that "fuckity" is my new favorite word.

harried_dad said...

Manuel's Manual for Masticatory Manners.

Use the right font and Masticatory looks like something else. Should help bump up the sales in the teenage boy segment.

Manuel said...

medbh: vegas sounds like hedonism!!! brilliant...

boxer: currently being done.....but i don't want to talk about it...

sam: awh and i'd let you buy them too....

mj: really? they can suck my......we'll i'll say no....

jeny: i'm like Shakespeare.....on crack....

dad: bwahahahaha....

daisyfae said...

concur with the Vegas comments - haven't done the "top" restaurants, but the "middle" ones are quite good, don't cost a house payment. buffets out there? alas, no longer cheap...

Manuel said...

daisyfae: one day.....

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